About the Advertising on this Site

Last update: December 2022

Play U.S.-licensed if you can

Only a handful of states have regulated online gambling, with licensed casinos.  If you're in one of those states, you should play there, because it's legal, and because you have recourse if you have a dispute with the casino (the state's gaming commission).

I advertise Bovada, which serves most of the other states, even though it might not be legal for you to play in your state (though even where it's not, prosecution is rare and fines are typically minimal).  It's up to you to see whether it's legal for your to play in your particular state, and it's not and you choose to play anyway, that's on you.

How I pick the advertiser

Since I first accepted advertising on this site two decades ago, I've advertised only a single online casino at a time, trying to pick the best one for my readers.  That casino has been Bovada for decades because:

  1. You can play without registering an account.  All other U.S.-wide casinos force you to register an account just to play their fake-money games.  Bovada is the only one that lets you play without registering.
  2. Better reputation.  Many online casinos find reason to not pay out big winnings.  Casinos which serve most of the U.S. can get away with this because they're not regulated, so if you have a dispute with the casino, you have no recourse.  You're relying on the integrity of the casino to pay you.  Fortunately, Bovada has a better reputation on payouts than its peer competitors.  (That's not to say they're perfect, just better than the alternatives.  I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode where the RV salesman is telling Homer, "Simpson, you're never gonna own a finer RV.  And I don't mean that in a good way, I mean this is IT for you!")

Bovada is far from perfect, though.  I detail their problems below.  The reason I advertise them despite these problems is simply that there's no other casino that's any better for players in states without explicitly legal online casino gaming.

It's just advertising

I advertise Bovada; I don't endorse them.

I used to endorse Bovada, but as of May 14, 2021 I no longer do so (for this list of reasons).

I'm sure some will howl about how I'm supposedly illegitimate for taking ads from a casino that I don't vouch for.  Those critics don't understand how advertising works.  Other media outlets (e.g., the New York Times, Fox News, etc.) certainly don't endorse their advertisers, they just run the ads.  There's no endorsement there, and there's no endorsement here:  it's just advertising.

Am I biased because I get advertising money?

Critics often allege that site owners, like me, are biased towards our advertisers because we get ad money from them.  But as you can see from the rest of this page, I'm not shy on calling out the advertiser on their faults.  Find me another website on this planet that's so openly critical of their sole advertiser.

In any event, if you think I'm biased towards my advertiser(s), then feel free to not play there.

I'm not sending readers to the poorhouse

Critics allege that I'm encouraging readers to gamble at the advertiser (and lose money).  They should read a lot more carefully. The overwhelming bulk of my advertising is for Bovada's free-play games (the kind you play without real money).  The overwhelming majority of my readers (99.97%) don't gamble online for real money (or at least not at the online casino I advertise), and the median monthly loss is around $26/mo.   Also, one of the whole points of this site is to show how to minimize losses when gambling.  Following my advice makes gambling one of the cheaper forms of entertainment one can engage in.  When I can show people how to lose less money gambling, I'm happy.

This is a far cry from the attitude of many other gambling webmasters.  As one of them opined, "If the webmaster is not an idiot, he wants the rich, stupid and desperate gamblers to register and squeeze all the money out of him." (source)  That is absolutely not my position, and such selfishness angers me.  That webmaster's attitude goes a long way in explaining why the content on many other sites is crap.  It's also why I don't rub shoulders with other gambling webmasters except for a select few like the Wizard of Odds.

I don't directly profit from player losses

Most other webmasters get paid a portion of the player losses from the players they refer to the casino, but I get paid a flat monthly rate.  At first blush that might seem like I have no incentive to push readers to Bovada, but in theory I do:  the higher the player losses, the more I can negotiate for my monthly payment when the agreement is reviewed annually.

While that's true in theory, any reader can see for her/himself that I primarily promote Bovada's free-play games, and that a main goal of the site is to show gamblers how to play smarter to lose less money.  I'm not pushing readers to go gamble a lot and lose big.

That was true even when I considered running the site my main job.  Now I consider myself retired because I have enough money, so I consider the site a hobby (that I happen to get paid for).

Non-Casino Affiliate Advertising

Besides Bovada, some of the links on the site are affiliate links, where I get a commission if you click through to the advertiser and buy something (like a hotel room).  But that doesn't mean I'm going to steer you to a lesser-quality site in an effort to make more money.  For example, I'd get paid if I linked you to Travelocity for airfare booking, because Travelocity would pay me, but instead I used to link to Skiplagged, even though Skiplagged wouldn't pay me a thin dime.  (Now I link to Skyscanner because they became better than Skiplagged, and Skyscanner does have a referral program, but I haven't signed up for it yet.)  The point is, my criteria for linking to an airfare site is that they're the best, not whether they pay me.

Casinos I used to advertise

Older advertisers

Editorial link
in home page
Why I started
advertising them
Bovada 10/2013 - present none Bovada bought out Bodog and changed to a new name.
Bodog 12/19/05 - 10/2013 none Offers free-play games without registration, and most games playable in the web browser (doesn't require separate download), no popup windows.
Casino.net 1/2004 - 12/18/05 10/2004 - 12/18/05 2/2004 - 12/2005 1/2004 - Casino.net offered audited returns, a faster download, partial Mac compatibility, and European roulette.  Also, Captain Cooks sent me spam.
Captain Cooks 2/2003 - 11/2003 none 4/2003- 10/2003 5/2003 - 11/2003 MiniVegas affiliate with the sleazy Golden Palace Casino.
MiniVegas none none none 1/2002 Roman Casino sold my unique email address to spammers.
Roman Casino none none 1/2002 - 4/2003 3/2001-5/2001 Can't remember

Dates are approximate.  Gaps between one advertiser ending and the next beginning is because the Wayback Machine didn't archive my site during the gaps.

Problems with Bovada

Not licensed in the U.S.

If you have a dispute with Bovada that you can't resolve, you have no real recourse, because there's no gaming commission you can appeal to, because no legitimate licensing authority will license a U.S.-wide casino, because online gambling isn't explicitly legal in most states.  This problem isn't limited to Bovada, it's true of all U.S.-wide casinos, but it's still a big one.

Bovada tells me that they're licensed in Anjuoan (yeah, I'd never heard of it, either), which is not a credible licensing authority (e.g., no real player protections; see comments by MaxD of Casinomeister here and here).

No mediation

For fifteen years, Bovada allowed me to mediate player disputes for players I referred to them, but in Oct. 2020 they notified me that they will no longer do so.  There was really nothing for them to lose by continuing to allow me to mediate, because I was just a mediator, not an arbiter, so I had no power to compel them to pay any player.  And besides, I got a request from a player to mediate only once every several years anyway.  Bovada's revocation of mediation tells you where they're coming from these days.

Phantom live dealer bets

On March 24, 2021 I was watching (not playing) live dealer roulette games, to record spin data for an article.  During that time, Bovada claimed I made two losing bets, of $15 and $45, which I absolutely didn't make.  It would have been impossible for an errant mouseclick to have made $15 and $45 bets, since the $15 bet would have required three separate clicks (one on the $10 chip, one on the $5 chip, and then one on the layout), and the $45 bet would have required four separate clicks (one on the $25 chip, two on the $10 chip, and one on the layout).  I explained this to Bovada, but they were unmoved, and insisted that I made those bets.  So, you might want to steer clear of the live dealer games.

Poor customer service

You can't call them.  They no longer have a customer service phone number.

Some emails you send them go straight to the trash, unread.  Your message to them could trigger an automated response, and if it does your original message goes to the trash, never to be seen by a human agent, and the automated response gives no clue that your message was trashed.  I learned this from a support chat with a supervisor.

Bovada has no intention of fixing this problem.  When the supervisor explained to me in a support chat that my message was trashed when it triggered an automated response, I suggested that Bovada fix that problem: send out the automated response, sure, but also forward the customer's message to actual human support staff rather than unceremoniously trashing it, without notice.  Rather than saying that Bovada will fix that, or at least saying he'd forward the problem to management so they could consider fixing it, he just replied, "Unfortunately if the automated response is triggered an agent won't see the email." (groan)

Also, they made me start my support request over from scratch.  Here's the sequence of events:

  1. I inquired as to why my balance was lower than I expected, and they said I lost two live dealer roulette bets (which I actually didn't make).
  2. I sent a detailed reply, explaining how I didn't make those bets and how it would have been impossible for an errant mouseclick to have made the bets, because it would have required several clicks, and said that if they wouldn't credit my account, to please escalate the case to a manager.
  3. Instead, they replied saying they disabled my account and demanded my date of birth and PIN.  I replied with that info.
  4. They replied, saying, "To assist you further, please provide us with more information about your issue or concern...." (groan)
  5. I replied, asking to speak with a manager.
  6. They replied, saying that I needed to go through their Chat support.
  7. I started a chat session, but the supervisor refused to believe that there could be anything wrong with their live dealer games, and defended Bovada's practice of trashing customer messages unread if they trigger an auto-reply.

Slow response to horked games

In 2016, a user on a forum suggested that the progressive jackpot on certain Betsoft games at Bovada couldn't actually be won.  I ran the numbers and confirmed that he was right.  I alerted Bovada, sharing my data, and they promptly blew me off.  Another webmaster tried to get Bovada's attention on this, they blew him off too.  I persisted, and months after they were first made aware of the issue, they finally realized that the games were really horked and pulled all the Betsoft games from the site.  (Why they didn't get the publisher to fix the games instead, I don't know.)

Lousy response to the Betsoft horked games

Bovada never came clean with its players that the jackpots on some Betsoft games were unwinnable.  It never made an announcement stating that, specifically.  It should have.

Bovada also should have refunded the progressive contribution of the players' wagers.  It didn't; instead, it assigned the jackpot amounts from the removed games to other progressive jackpot games that Bovada still retained.  That was absolutely the wrong resolution; it required players who wasted their money on an unwinnable jackpot, to spend even more money on a chance to win a different jackpot.

No RTP information

Some online casinos (like VideoSlots, which doesn't serve the U.S.) publish the RTP data for each of their slots.  RTP is "Return to Player", the percentage of all money wagered that the player gets back.  It's only fair for players to have this information, but Bovada doesn't provide it.

For that matter, they don't post the jackpot odds on their slots, either.  If you buy a lottery ticket, you can flip it over and the odds of winning will be printed right there.  But you can't get that info on the slots at Bovada.

Weak self-exclusion options

Bovada offers exactly one self-exclusion option:  a permanent ban.  What they should offer besides that is the option to allow players to set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly loss limits.  Since players can't limit their play, because Bovada doesn't let them, their only options are the two extremes of either permanent ban, or play with absolutely no limits at all.  There are undoubtedly many players who would choose to limit their play, and don't want to go for the drastic step of a permanent ban, so they don't choose the ban, so they play without any limits.  I suspect this is by design.

They also don't offer "cooling-off periods", where you could self-exclude for a certain period of time (a week, a month, etc.).

To be clear, most other online casinos fail to offer loss limits and cooling-off periods, not just Bovada, but it's still a problem.

No win/loss reports

Bovada has a record of all your bets, so it would be extremely helpful if they'd send you a list of all your bets for tax purposes.  But they don't.  They actually don't show a list or summary of any of your casino bets for any period of time.  And they don't show deposits or withdrawals any farther back than 31 days.  There's really no excuse for this.

Payout denied for using basic strategy.

According to Gambling Grumbles, a player was denied a payout in part because she simply used basic strategy for blackjack.

Payout denied for multiple accounts on the same laptop

Online casinos generally have a "one account per household" rule.  They do this to prevent the same person from creating multiple accounts to claim the generous bonuses.  The problem with this is that innocent players can wind up having their winnings confiscated, because the casinos aren't up front about the risk, and because they apply the rules even more strictly than are spelled out in their own terms and conditions.  To be clear, this is a problem at lots of online casinos, not just Bovada, but Bovada is certainly one of them.

The prohibition against multiple accounts is usually buried in the Terms & Conditions, page after page of tiny type which no one can be expected to read.  Worse, players risk having their funds seized even if they didn't violate the terms.  For example, Bovada's terms say:

"Only one account is allowed per household. Multiple accounts held by the same individual are subject to immediate closure and we reserve the right to seize any funds gained as a result of holding multiple accounts."

However, a player who says she let friends sign up on her laptop had her winnings confiscated by Bovada.  Assuming she's telling the truth, she didn't hold multiple accounts, and her friends weren't part of her household, so she didn't violate Bovada's terms, but the winnings were confiscated anyway.

To fix this, casinos should warn the players explicitly during the signup process, with a separate checkbox, that is not pre-checked:

Winnings can be seized for multiple accounts. We may seize winnings if another account accesses our site from your device or your household's IP address. Check to agree that you understand.

Or, give the player the option to not use bonuses so they don't entail any risk:

I will not claim welcome or deposit bonuses on this account.
I may claim bonuses but my winnings can be seized if another account accesses the site from my device or my household's IP address.

Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

You can play Bovada's games (below) right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's the main reason Bovada is the only online casino that gets advertising space on my site.  (When you see the registration box, you can cancel it and proceed to the game without registering.)

Play blackjack


Play roulette


Play craps


Play baccarat


Approved by Casinomeister

Proud not only to be an approved Webmeister by Casinomeister,
but also to be one of the very first approved. (#7, May 2020)

Site Contents ©2001-2024 Michael Bluejay Incorporated.
I believe everything herein to be accurate, but I'm not responsible for errors or omissions.  I'm pretty irresponsible, actually.

Home |  About Us   Contact  |  Updates  |  Privacy          Gambling Problem? Call the 800-522-4700 hotline, see horror stories, and know that aripiprazole and Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Play:  Slots  •  Blackjack  •  Craps  •  Roulette